By Rick Rose
When the love of my life lost his job, and along with it his sponsorship for U.S. citizenship, my friends all suggested we go to Iowa and get married. What wasn’t clear to them, all of whom are well-educated, well-read and well-meaning, is that it wouldn’t mean a thing, really, since it wouldn’t make my partner a U.S. citizen. States’ rights are states’ rights, and federal are federal – ultimately trumping the states. And currently immigration is all about federal law, as are many other aspects of “happily-ever after.”
So, after the passing of marriage equality in New York, of course I celebrated along with all of you, but I still pondered: why bother? Sure, I know it is a step in the right direction. Yes, one of my adages has long been: progress not perfection. And certainly, I am a fighter for all that is right. But we need to be honest about where we currently are along our journey, today, and how fucked up it still really is. I’m just sayin!
Yay, we can all now marry equally (black and white, woman and woman, man and woman) in six states and the District of Columbia, but because the federal government of the United States of America doesn’t legally recognize our pairings, gay couples can’t file joint federal tax returns, to mention just one of many indignities. Worse, filing separately and splitting community income will likely trigger an audit. And a surviving spouse of a same-sex couple still must pay inheritance taxes even if these assets are held in joint accounts, since we aren’t protected under “marital deductions.” I’d finish the list but it would take all day.
The United States of America? Really?
Editor’s note: marriage remains controversial for any number of reasons, not the least of which Rick addresses here. Is there any point in marrying when the federal government makes its recognition moot in most states and in any federal sense? Take the sidebar survey and let us know what you think!